Developer: Francisco Téllez de Meneses
Publisher: EnjoyUp, Ninagamers Corps
Platform: Windows, Linux, OSX, Wii U, Xbox One, PS4, PS Vita
Tested on: PS4
UnEpic – Review
UnEpic released originally on Windows in September of 2011 and has since seen itself released on multiple platforms over the years. The latest port is now on PS4 and PS Vita and we were excited to get into this expansive adventure. Developed by Francisco Téllez de Meneses and other collaborators and published by EnjoyUp and Ninagamers Corps, UnEpic is a homage to the side scrollers of the past.
You are Daniel, an every day guy who lives with an astoundingly vivid imagination. Soon, he finds himself in a strange and unfamiliar land all to similar to the RPGs that he had played all through his adolescent years. He has no choice other than forging on ahead bravely and fearlessly (because he believes he’s imagining it all). Along the way you come across mischievous characters and even a ghostly villain who accidentally traps itself in your body and the only way for him to escape is for the character to die. This leads to a dynamic companion-esque relationship that instead of aiding you, is supposed to endanger you and we found this touch utterly brilliant. Soon you find out your true calling and why you found yourself in this world. You are here to kill evil ruler Harnakon. In order to complete your objective, you must first make it through the perilous and huge world that you are trapped in.
The story to UnEpic is imaginative and all together very charming. The character is all too relatable to us and on our way through this game we found ourselves being landed in a world of nostalgia. It’s a big nod to retro side scrolling games of the past but with all the necessities for a great and fun modern game.
Featuring antique and retro looking visuals, this is just another nod to the side scrollers in the past. There’s nothing impressive to mention here but that is a good thing in itself. It’s clear to see that this game is focused mainly on the raw gaming experience. The better-than-usual sprites are all unique in their own way which is great to see. The graphics are definitely highly improved than they appeared in the first release which delivers a different level of depth.
The soundtrack to UnEpic is mostly blurred into the background. It chooses not to be standout in any way at all and instead is used as an atmosphere builder. In fact the entire soundtrack is a little under 25 minutes in total and despite after putting a hearty amount of time into the game, it never seemed to be repetitive or boring in any way. The music is nostalgic and reminiscent of retro RPGs. Altogether it works. The voice acting isn’t entirely great but it’s enough to be believable and comical.
UnEpic is predominately an RPG based side scroller which is pleasantly ironic as through the game, many jokes are made at the expense of RPG games and gamers alike as seen the intro when a group of young men are playing Dungeons & Dragons all too seriously. At any rate, UnEpic has a solid foundation for its gameplay, as you make your way through the 2D dungeons, fighting monsters on the way. Smooth and simplistic mechanics aid the player through their adventure and the easy customisable hot keying is something to be admired. It could be said these days that side scrollers can become slightly tedious and repetitive however with UnEpic, this is certainly not the case as the game offers a lot of variety. We found it entirely addictive and a lot of fun. It’s impossible to dislike a game that features hilarious references to both ‘Metal Gear Solid’ and ‘Star Wars’ in the first hour. These two examples are just a few of the quirky references that are made all throughout the game.
Like any good RPG, there are a large amount of weapons and armour to find and equip to improve Daniel and his abilities. This is especially impressive when you realise the amount of weapon types there are. Swords, bows, maces, axes, spears and more can be found throughout UnEpic and all have their particular advantages when dealing with the multiple different varieties of enemies. However, we found that despite all of these weapons at your disposal, it is far easier to play as a mage like character as there is a variety of different classes to be used as well, such as the mage or thief class. As a warrior, you will often find yourself in the middle of 10 enemies, losing health faster than you can swing your sword (which is do-able if you’re not being inflicted by poison or other life threatening ailments), but as a mage you can damage enemies from a distance which protects your characters from furious foes. Your character levels up through a levelling system similar to Skyrim or other popular RPG’s, where you choose which skills you would like to develop.
The gameplay in UnEpic was overall a big surprise for us. Every control besides the jump ability (which is sluggish at best) is sharp and responsive and with features such as enemy targeting and hot keying, the experience for us was almost seamless. That’s something to be admired in our opinion.
We had a great time playing UnEpic. There is something that kept up hungry for more and it’s impossible to pin that down to just one aspect. Overall, it’s a smooth and well paced adventure that has a great replayability factor. With multiple difficulties, it’s easy to see a second and even a third playthrough. The references to other games and movies was pleasant and the gameplay was close to flawless. This throwback special is a great homage to the side scrollers of the NES and RPGs of the past. We’d happily play it again and again and with the huge list of trophies on PS4, there’s a lot to work for if you’re a trophy hunter.